01 July 2015

What All Lottery Players Need To Know

The 5 Biggest Mistakes When Picking Numbers

In this article we're going to look at the biggest mistakes people make when picking lottery numbers, and show you two proven ways to help you pick your numbers smarter in future.

The 5 Biggest Mistakes When Picking Numbers

Winning big on the lottery isn't about skill, it's about luck, and luck isn't something you can influence directly. You may believe that you can do so indirectly, through mystical methods such as prayer, lucky charms and so on, but regardless of what your beliefs may be, the fact remains that, ultimately, you have no control over your own luck. 

Your destiny, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter. The choices you make, in life and in the lottery, are entirely yours to make. So make them wisely!

Although you cannot influence the draw itself your choice of numbers ultimately influences the outcome and therefore this process should be done with the utmost care and attention.

And what you definitely should not do, is make any of these huge, commonly committed mistakes:

1. Picking So-Called "Hot" Numbers

The 5 Biggest Mistakes You Can Make Picking Lottery Numbers

Hot Numbers versus Cold Numbers – we've discussed this topic time and time again here at Lottoland and it’s a topic that's bound to resurface again. For the sake of balance we covered both sides of the debate however if you're a regular reader you should already be well aware of our skeptical stance on the issue.

If, however, you're new to Lottoland and don't already know, hot numbers are numbers which are drawn quite regularly. Hot number theory dictates that these numbers are therefore lucky, and should be played as much as possible.

There's a flipside to this, known as cold number theory. The cold number disciples believe that numbers that don't get drawn regularly are to be considered "overdue" – e.g. they might think, "ok well 26 hasn't been drawn for months now so it's bound to be drawn this weekend!"

Both positions are based on pseudoscience, since each draw is a separate event in and of itself, and the results of one have absolutely no impact on the other.

Or, as Doctor John Haigh, a maths professor at the University of Sussex told The Telegraph newspaper, "Just because a number has not come up for a while does not mean it will in the next draw."

2. Picking Your Numbers In A Row

The 5 Biggest Mistakes You Can Make Picking Lottery Numbers

As humans we generally like to have everything nice and neat, so picking numbers that follow a specific sequence seems like a sensible approach.

Lottery numbers aren't ducks, though, so there's no need to get them in a row.

Now, we should mention, before we go any further, that there's just as much a chance that "1,2,3,4,5,6" will be drawn as any other set of numbers.

Your prize would be tiny, however, because, according to a report mentioned in The Guardian, an average of 10,000 people pick these exact same numbers each and every week. Now do the math; take a given jackpot and divide it by ten thousand. That's the difference between winning enough to buy a new Ferrari and still have millions to spare, versus buying a second hand Fiat Punto and maybe having enough left over to insure it. So, still want to get those ducks in a row? Didn't think so.

3. Picking Specific Dates And/Or Lucky Numbers

The 5 Biggest Mistakes You Can Make Picking Lottery Numbers

There's a very important anniversary coming up that I'm sure you're aware of. Indeed it's arguably the most important anniversary in the history of the human race. In only a couple of week's time it will be July the 19th, the date the Ice Age ended. This fact comes direct from Father Ted, that most credible of all geological sources. So obviously 7 and 19 are two numbers you're definitely going to want to pick that upcoming weekend.

Of course they're also two of the most, if not the most commonly chosen lottery numbers. Seven is frequently picked because it's widely considered to be a lucky number. The number 19 is also one of the most commonly picked numbers due to the fact that people like to play birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates as their lucky numbers.

As Millennials come of lottery playing age this will gradually start to change, but right now 19 is just another one of those numbers that you'll want to avoid as it increases your chance of a shared jackpot

4. Picking Numbers Using Visual Patterns

The 5 Biggest Mistakes You Can Make Picking Lottery Numbers

Just as we like to use numerical sequences or numbers that have a specific meaning or poignancy to us, as pattern seeking creatures we're also innately inclined to pick numbers that match visual patterns. Some people do so blatantly, following straight or diagonal lines, while others follow different shapes or patterns without realizing.

The fact is; whether consciously or unconsciously, when we go to start ticking those little boxes we tend to do so based upon the layout of the numbered grid. This layout affects how we choose our numbers, and often results in shared jackpots since people often tend to pick the same patterns. So when you go picking numbers your unconscious mind takes over and fills in the blanks for you.

It's called the "ideomotor effect" and it's the exact same scientific principal behind purportedly occult phenomenon such as automatic drawing and Ouija boards. Which brings us to the spookiest question of all – are you really picking the numbers, or are the numbers picking you?

5. Believing That You're Picking Random Numbers When You're Actually Not

The 5 Biggest Mistakes You Can Make Picking Lottery Numbers

Our brains, impressive though they might be, are a perfect case of working smarter not harder. They constantly take lots of little shortcuts without us ever being aware of it.

Our cerebral operating system runs millions of little sub-systems and instincts to keep us sharp and keep us alive. Most of the time they work perfectly without us even knowing. When we're in danger, they tell us to run. When we see somebody for the first time, they instantly form an opinion based on features and body language and pass that information on up the line.

Likewise when we're not sure about something, our instincts will guesstimate to fill in the blanks. Which is why, when we play the lottery, we all suffer from what's known as "numerical bias".

According to researchers at Stanford University and Bucknell we are entirely incapable of making truly random number picks because our brains will always betray us, filling in the proverbial blanks in order to pick numbers that have a specific meaning to us. So even when we try our hardest to pick numbers at random, we can't, and therefore there's still a very strong chance that others will pick the exact same numbers as us.

Solution One: Cold & Logical

The solution to all of the above conundrums is actually very simple; use quick picks. Since you can't trust yourself to pick truly random numbers using a cold, logical and impartial computer to do it for you makes perfect sense. As a Lottoland player you just click the Quick+1 button when filling out your ticket and voila!

Obviously there's still a chance that others will end up picking some, if not all, of these numbers the old fashioned way – but the amount of people that do so is certain to be far lower than those using patterns, dates and other would-be "lucky numbers".

Your chances of winning the lottery remain the same regardless of what numbers you pick, so really what you're doing is reducing the chances that, should fortune smile upon you, you are compelled to share that fortune with others.

Solution Two: "But My Numbers Are Lucky!"

Now I get that many of you out there would still much rather play your own lucky numbers than entrust your fortune to cold machine logic. And you'd be right to, because despite all we've said about lucky numbers, and the ways people pick them, the main point to remember is that any given set of numbers has as much a chance of being drawn as any other.

You may well have good reasons to play your own special numbers too; with various draws, raffles and perhaps you even have a few modest lottery wins to your credit – all directly attributable to those numbers.  

Thankfully at Lottoland we have an exclusive feature that lets you play using your own special lucky numbers while also preventing shared wins. It's called the NumberShield. If enabled it means that if your numbers are drawn you will be guaranteed the full jackpot amount no matter how many people pick the same numbers. 

The only question left is which jackpot do you want to go for? Well, since both the Lotto and EuroMillions are comparatively low this weekend, and since the lottery is all about getting your financial independence, we've got two great draws coming up this Saturday, the forth of July.

The first is El Gordo De Verano, or the Summer El Gordo, from Spain, which, like its Christmastime cousin, is famous for its generous prizes and massive winning opportunities.

The second, quite appropriately, comes from the US-of-A, where everything's bigger and more dramatic. The MegaMillions jackpot this forth of July weekend certainly fits the bill, worth a massive €334 million.